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Microsoft's Office Software 'Translator' Praised, Faintly

Microsoft's decision to offer free translation software> to enable its Office software to operate easily with OpenDocument Format (ODF) software was greeted Thursday with elation in some quarters, but with cautious optimism in other quarters.

Hailing the move was Melanie Wyne, executive director of the Initiative For Software Choice (ISC), who said: "We continue to prefer these developments to heavy-handed, and often clumsy government regulation."

While Wyne didn't cite the ongoing controversy in the Massachusetts state government, she has criticized the state's plan to standardize its document retention on ODF software to the exclusion of Microsoft Office software.

Andrew Updegrove, editor of and an ODF supporter, had faint praise for the Microsoft move while noting that there wasn't really much new to the announcement because Microsoft's chief software architect Ray Ozzie had said Microsoft was working on a translator -- also variously called a converter and a plug-in -- last fall.

Updegrove, a partner in the Boston law firm of Gesmer Updegrove, called Microsoft's action a "concession (that) clearly makes it easier for governments and other users to feel safe in making the switch from Office to ODF-supporting software, since Microsoft will be collaborating to make document exchanges smooth and effortless."

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